WIN-ning Wednesday: Acupuncture and Dysmenorrhea

Most women, at one time or another, have experienced cramping and discomfort during their menstrual period (dysmenorrhea).  There are many causes of dysmenorrhea, such as hormonal imbalances, uterine fibroids or polyps, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, quality of nutrition and lifestyle factors.  The conventional methods of dealing with dysmenorrhea include “wait it out,” over the counter pain medication, prescribed pain medication and/or the birth control pill.  Although these methods might be suitable for some women, other women may not be good candidates for medication due to accentuated side effects to their use.  The alternative of waiting for menstrual cramps to pass without doing anything may not be a desirable alternative, especially if it interferes with being able to function normally during the day at home or at work.

In Naturopathic Medicine, we have so many natural options that are tremendously effective at resolving dysmenorrhea without any side effects or long term adverse effects.  One of these options is Acupuncture.

I recently came across a research article reviewing acupuncture as treatment for dysmenorrhea.  What was astonishing about this study was that the researchers found that using just one highly effective acupuncture point was enough to help resolve dysmenorrhea among the group of participants.  The point researched is known as Shiqizhui and is located on the lower back.

Often, the picture that comes to mind when acupuncture is discussed is the human pin cushion.  An acupuncture treatment may involve a combination of points that are individualized to the patient and their health concerns.  However, this research shows that it is possible to take a “less is more” approach with acupuncture and still have it be beneficial.  This is great for those who may be reluctant to try acupuncture due to concern over the number of needles used or anxiety around experiencing discomfort.

Every woman needs to be individually assessed to find the natural treatment for dysmenorrhea that is the right fit for them.  For more guidance, or a customized plan, visit a licensed Naturopathic Doctor to explore the natural solutions that effectively treat female health concerns.

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